Russia, Iran, and Syria reacted angrily Saturday to the US-led airstrikes that hit Syria overnight, though so far the move hasn't led to the worst-case scenario: direct conflict between US and Russian forces, reports the Washington Post. Vladimir Putin called the airstrikes by the US, France, and Britain an "act of aggression" and was expected to call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, reports USA Today. Russia's ambassador to the US warned of "consequences," while Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the strikes a "military crime," reports the AP. Syria's Bashar al-Assad's regime similarly called the military action a "barbaric aggression" and promised that his nation would respond.
As President Trump said in a brief address late Friday, the airstrikes were delivered to punish Syria for a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians. Trump faulted "Russia's failure" for allowing that attack to take place, though Moscow and Damascus deny that Syria is to blame, or even that chemical weapons were used. "Insulting the president of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible," said Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov. "The US—the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons—has no moral right to blame other countries." Reuters reports that more than 100 missiles struck sites in Syria, including in Damascus, affiliated with the nation's chemical weapons research. “We were scared of a bigger assault," a Damascus resident tells the Post. “I think this strike is only a flexing of muscles by Trump to show his power.”